I was born/grew up in: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
I now live in: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada.
I completed my training/education at: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (N.A.I.T.).
Describe what you do at work.
My daily activities can vary from day to day. Some days I go to jobsites to visit members and other days I am in the office. I work a lot with computers. I often have to make decisions in regards to issues facing the members and whether or not grievances are possible in each circumstance. I also speak to people wanting to pursue a job within our union. I also have my Welding Examiner and Level 2 CWB Inspections certifications so I am able to test and coach welders and inspect weld quality. My coworkers and I are very much a team. We discuss decisions we make with each other and often ask for input from one another.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect peoples lives?
I get to help people every day. I am able to coach people with their careers. Decisions I make can affect the union for many years and can directly affect people’s lives.
What motivates you in your career?
I really enjoy the opportunities I've been given to travel and meet new people. I have been invited to government receptions and conferences. I have had the chance to meet some really interesting people. I enjoy meeting and talking to people about my experiences within the trades.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
This is not at all what I thought I would be doing with my life. I started out in university studying to be a psychologist and realized at the end of my first year that I really didn’t want to spend the next 5 to 7 years in school.
I decided to work in the retail field for a bit until I could figure out what I wanted to do. My Dad showed me an ad in the paper about an entry level trades course and he signed me up for it. It focused on carpentry, painting, interior systems and floor laying. I really enjoyed the course but decided none of those were really what I wanted to do. My grandfather and Father had both been Boilermakers and I decided I wanted to look into something in the metal trades. I tried to apply for jobs as a labourer at some fabrication shops but the answer was always the same, either "we have no facilities for women", or "you have no experience".
I found a pre-apprentice welding course at GRB College and enrolled. I started the course and knew that welding was the right choice. I felt challenged and was able to be creative. I worked at a few fab shops and then decided to join the Boilermakers Lodge 146 in 2003 and finished my apprenticeship. I upgraded my skills and got my B-Pressure ticket and alloy TIG tickets. I became a welding instructor and taught the B-Pressure course for the union. During that time I was asked to get my Welding Inspector certification. I did this and went on to get my Level 2 CWB Examiner certification in February 2018. As a person who has struggled with ADHD all my life I have worked very hard to achieve what I have in my career. Nothing has come easily and has taken a great deal of effort.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy camping in the summer. I rent a lake lot and spend the summer at the lake hiking, kayaking, and quadding with my kids. Family time is very important to me and all of my free time is spent with my daughters.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
I would recommend that anyone looking into a career in the trades should take the time to explore their options. Talk to people currently working in the trades. Don't be afraid of failure. Life lessons don't come from getting things the easy way. Sometimes you have to fail a few times to find the right path but if you believe in yourself and keep trying you will succeed.